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Invisalign is a common appliance that many people turn to for straighter teeth.

But how long does it take to work?

It takes, on average, less than 2 years for the people who use Invisalign to see results, and it can take as quickly as 6 months. Of course, every smile is different, and it may take more or less time depending on what you need. The treatment time is directly related to the complexity of the issue you want to address.

Read on to learn more about what might cause a longer wait for Invisalign results, as well as alternative teeth-straightening methods.

Invisalign is a type of aligner that uses plastic trays to slowly realign your teeth. The trays are worn 20 to 22 hours per day, only being removed for eating and brushing your teeth.

These aligners can be found in both orthodontist’s and specially trained dentist’s offices. Your doctor will take special 3-D images of your mouth or plaster molds of your mouth at your initial visit.

These will then be used to create Invisalign trays for your teeth.

While some people who use Invisalign may be finished with their treatments in 6 months, it can take up to a couple of years.

There are a few different factors that may increase your treatment time:

The type of occlusion or spacing you have

Invisalign can be a great solution if you have the following:

  • Overbite: your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth
  • Underbite: your lower teeth extend past your upper teeth
  • Crowding: if you have a smaller jaw, your teeth may become crowded or crooked
  • Gap: you have larger spaces between your teeth

The type of spacing or crowding issue you have will determine how long you’ll need to wear Invisalign to get the results you want. Your orthodontist or dentist can give you a better time estimate for your specific case.

Your age

When you’re younger, your teeth tend to be easier to realign. This is why braces are so common among middle and high school students.

Does that mean that adult teeth can’t be straightened? No! It just means that it may take a little longer, depending on your age.

How compliant you are with your treatment plan

Another thing that may affect your treatment time is how closely you follow the treatment plan. Invisalign aligner trays are designed to move one tooth at a time.

This means that once one tooth is aligned and it’s time to move on to the next one, you’ll have to switch trays. There’s usually a set schedule for this, and if you don’t follow it, your treatment will likely take longer.

Invisalign best practices

  • Keep up with regularly scheduled dentist or orthodontist appointments.
  • Wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, removing them only for eating, drinking, or short periods of time when it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Switch trays on schedule.
  • If you’re not sure about your treatment plan, ask your dental provider to go over it with you.

If wearing and switching plastic trays doesn’t work for you, or the treatment takes too long, you have other options.

Traditional braces sometimes take less time, as do lingual braces. They may not be as aesthetically pleasing, but they often work faster.

Invisalign is a fantastic option to straighten your teeth without the discomfort of traditional braces. Treatment time can be as short as 6 months, but every individual is different.

Treatment times for Invisalign can vary based on a variety of factors, including:

  • your age
  • compliance with the treatment plan
  • regular follow-up with your dental provider
  • the type of spacing or crowing issue you have

If the treatment plan for Invisalign is not right for you, traditional braces or lingual braces may be an option.